FOMATOL PW: warmtone developer

FOMATOL PW .. MIXING (2017 directions)

Fomatol PW is my standard warmtone developer. I’ve mixed from scratch, bought magic potions, changed proportions many times of the 50 years in the darkroom. This is the developer that satisfies my need. The disadvantages are availability and storage life; it does not have a long shelf life, even unmixed. As a working developer it is slow acting and exhausts quickly. The tray life is just hours. It outlasts an amidol developer, but it is not Dektol (D-72) my other common black-and-white print developer.

The english instruction sheets seem to be a source of wide ranging opinion about the developer agents, as well as the use of this developer. In going thru past notes, downloaded pdfs and, a few online posts of others, I think the product has changed. This change may be because of environmental regulations throughout the world.

At first, it was: “Specially formulated, glycine-hydroquinone” developer.” More recently, it is: “Specially formulated positive developer.” According to the US retailer Freestyle, it does not contain hydroquinone: no need for special shipping tags.

Mixing Fomatol PW

The only odd part of mixing is in understanding that “Big part” means the heavier bag. Both bags are the same size, but are different weights. Mixing directions are otherwise vary clear and simple to follow.

Using Formatol PW

Early directions gave development times based upon dilutions of 1+1, or 1+3; currently, directions are for undiluted stock. Sometimes I use it at 1+1, and have tested it at 1+3. Diluting this developer increases the times into the ‘lith’ timesphere (7 to 17 minutes) without ever getting a strong black. Using this as a stock developer is expensive, but it is worthwhile for my work.

Stock for 4 to 7 minutes using Fomatone, or Retrobrom Sp papers.




Durst – asking for instructions

Searching the web is easy; too easy. Getting answers is easy, also, too easy. The correct answer is rarely as easy as the online experts make it seem. Google catalogs the words, it doesn’t have a knowledge engine, so can’t access how valid the website is. The assumption of links, references is that more links, more use, means that it is correct. Actually, it means there is a popularity rank to that site. There is a path, a cliche of words. The error of this is circular. More and more seekers are sent to the tent at the end of the well travelled path.

Another example has played out on Large Format Forum:

I asked and was told assembly was “really hard”

as it turns out, it is actually quite easy. Needing only one person, a 24mm socket wrench and knowledge. Reminder, these enlargers were sold without installation support. Photographers with limited mechanical skill put them together in basements, garages all across Europe and America.

the answer:

 put the carrier on the column. 
Because of the spring, turn the main screw  on the left of the arm) to the left, holding it tight, so the weight is released allowing it to be easily mounted. 
Next, lift the (now released of tension) smaller clamp and place it on the lower column, 
turn the big screw back to the right.
 You have a functional baseboard lift mechanism.

Simple enough. So, why does a website that takes pride in keeping analog photography alive, as well as having an elite gathering of knowledgeable sharing avid photographers often (always?) the answer wrong? We already know why you are sent there. google just works that way.

Simple Facts: the thread that gave raise to this example went on for 5 pages, protracted over 9 months. The participants were ones most often seen answering questions on Durst and other darkroom equipment. They post on photrio, as well. Just gathering a rough count shows over 750 threads concerning Durst enlargers on Large Format Forum. That is a count of threads, not posts. That is a whole lot of ‘text’ to get through to find much of value, much of immediate use to someone setting out on a darkroom practice.

Who answered? A German company that refurbishes enlargers.